I have been thinking about acceptance a lot lately, it is one of the most challenging concepts for me. It's no secret that I'm a bit of a control freak, and I think that may be true for many Pilates people. After all, Joseph Pilates called his method contrology, so it is no surprise that those seeking control of their body, mind, health & life are often attracted to the method. Control is an illusion of course, most of what we can control begins and ends with us and even then, there are many variables to consider. So how do we find a way to accept what is on the way to what will be without sliding into apathy?
The simple answer is to be aware of both ourselves and our tendencies, in particular our expectations. If we do something purely out of expectation of a result, we are often disappointed. If we do something because we enjoy doing it, the end result is more likely to be satisfaction. In other words, it's the journey, not the destination. Brene Brown describes this as being your whole-hearted, authentic self. In this excellent Ted talk about vulnerability, she addresses how perceptions about what we can control and expectations about what we will achieve can become a vicious cycle. This 20 minute video is six years old but still relevant and well worth your time. www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en#t-291183
The last part of the video is about feeling that we are enough. I think this is so important, not just in the realm of exercise, but in leading a healthy life.
I often tell my students that I want them to be surprised and delighted by what their bodies can do, not appalled and disgusted. They laugh but I can tell I've struck a nerve. We usually focus on what we think we need to do, or what we should be doing better and not what we enjoy doing, or are doing now. Any parent can relate to this because we often put our goals, joy and needs on the other side of our children's, sometimes never arriving "over there".
The concept of self care extends beyond physical fitness to our psychological well being. Though mental health gets more press of late, it is still a delicate subject. I found this list to be a helpful reminder of what matters and why. Perhaps you will find something that resonates?
So where does this leave me? I find apathy so unappealing that I tend to run harder and faster, trying to do and be better in every aspect of my life. I often only succeed in feeling overwhelmed and ineffectual. In my quest to improve, I end up not enjoying what I am doing by focusing on the end result or the expectation. I think acceptance is the answer. Allowing space to be who I am now, with what I have to work with isn't apathy, it is acceptance. If only I could surrender to it more often. Perhaps too much acceptance could become apathy? The law of diminishing returns applies to most things. If some is good, more will not necessarily be better. In spite of my understanding, the struggle is real because the world we live in seems to tell us the exact opposite. All we can do is support one another as we navigate our individual journey. Perhaps empathy for others will help us be more accepting of ourselves?
Here's another video about trying too hard to consider when you have time.
WOW: My favorite self care treat: www.simplecuremassageandskin.com/